Consultation times not long enough, say 93% of GPs

A total of 93% of GPs in Scotland do not think consultation times are adequate, according to a BMA survey.

GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt
GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt

Of 900 GPs questioned by the doctors’ union just 7% said they believe the time they are able to spend with patients is adequate.

The findings come just a week after a GMC report warned that the pressure of 10-minute consultations was undermining GPs' ability to provide compassionate care.

More than half of respondents to the BMA poll said there should be longer appointments for specific groups of patients, while 40% said there should be more time allocated for every consultation.

More than 90% of GPs said workload levels had damaged the quality of care they are able to give to patients.

GP workload

Asked what measures would help GPs, 44% called for increased funding, 36% said recruiting more GPs, while 18% said longer consultation times should be top priority.

GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said: ‘This survey reflects the immense pressure that GPs working across Scotland are currently feeling. The rising workload is simply unsustainable and something has to change to make general practice in Scotland fit for the future.'

In October the Scottish government announced that annual investment in primary care would increase £500m by the end of this parliament, bringing primary care’s share of NHS spending to 11%.

‘It is essential that the additional £500m per year promised is spent directly on supporting general practice,' said Dr McDevitt. 'Giving us more time with patients, expanding the GP workforce and supporting the practice based primary care team will help to ensure the quality of care that our patients receive remains of a high standard.’

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